As romantic dramas go, The Lucky One is pretty thin stuff. It has a workable premise and everything, but the movie can’t think of anything to do with itself, so it pads out its running time with one musical montage after another. You know a director has run out of ideas when he puts two different montages in about a span of two minutes apart from each other. The film is based on a book by Nicholas Sparks, who has done much better (and worse) than this. This falls somewhere in the middle.
Our hero is Logan, a Marine fighting overseas as the film begins, and played with wooden indifference by Zac Efron. There’s nothing particularly interesting about Logan to begin with. He’s handsome, he’s noble, he works hard, and that’s about it when it comes to his personality. Despite this, Efron could have shown a bit more life in his performance. After a particularly intense battle, Logan spots a photo of a woman lying in the rubble of the battlefield. Lucky thing he found and walked over to that photo, as moments later, a bomb drops where he was standing just seconds ago, killing his comrades. Logan finishes his tour, but is obsessed with discovering who the woman in the picture is, and who it belongs (or belonged) to. He returns home briefly to Colorado to live with family for a while, but when he can’t readjust to civilian life, he packs his bags and, with his faithful dog Zeus by his side, decides to walk cross country to search out who the mysterious woman in the photo is.
His travels take him all the way to North Carolina, which is quite an amazing feat to walk all that distance. What’s even more amazing is how Logan managed not to get dirty, or even mess up or grow out his hair during those many long months of walking. He arrives at a farmhouse/dog kennel, where it just so happens that the woman in the photo lives and works there. She’s Beth (Taylor Schilling), who works at the kennel, is a single mother to her seven-year-old son, Ben (Riley Thomas Stewart), and shares the home with her mother (Blythe Danner, who gives the most interesting performance in the film). Logan means to tell Beth about the photo he found that day, but he just can’t bring himself to mention it. Part of this is because of Logan having issues with his own past as a soldier, and part of this is for plot convenience, so that the movie can drag out his secret as long as it can, until it is dramatically appropriate. He takes a job at the kennel, and becomes a natural taking care of the many dogs.
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